PHA Canada is Pleased to Award Third $10,000 Paroian Family PH Research Scholarship

PHA Canada is Pleased to Award Third $10,000 Paroian Family PH Research Scholarship


The Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada (PHA Canada) is pleased to announce that the recipient of the third Paroian Family PH Research Scholarship is Sylvia Rinaldi, PhD candidate in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Western Ontario (London, ON). In 2016, Sylvia was awarded a $10,000 Paroian Family Research Scholarship to complete early phases of a study on the nutritional status of PH patients. We are very happy to continue our support of her research project with a second scholarship. 

Scholarships of up to $10,000 are offered by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada to promote and support PH research in Canada. The Paroian Family PH Research Scholarship is named to recognize the incredible contribution of the Paroian Family to the Canadian PH community. For more information on the Paroian Family PH Research Scholarship, click here


Sylvia Rinaldi
The University of Western Ontario, Department of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences (London, ON)

Under the supervision of:
Dr. Janet Madill RD, Researcher and Assistant Professor
Brescia University College (London, ON)

Sylvia Rinaldi is a Registered Dietitian and PhD candidate in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Western Ontario with a focus on health and aging. Sylvia earned her BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Windsor and a BSc and MSc in Foods and Nutrition at Brescia University College. She developed a passion for respiratory health while completing her Master’s project, which focused on the nutritional status of individuals with interstitial lung disease. She has since expanded her research interests to exploring the nutritional concerns of people with pulmonary hypertension (PH). As a Registered Dietitian, Sylvia values evidence-based and research-driven clinical practice. These values guide her scientific investigations into the links between nutrition and disease and her research into how improvements in nutrition may lead to better disease outcomes and quality of life for patients. 

Sylvia’s Project: Nutritional Status of Patients with Pulmonary Hypertension

Research team: Dr. Janet Madill, Brescia University College (London, ON), Dr. Sanjay Mehta, London Health Sciences Centre (London, ON), and Sylvia Rinaldi, University of Western Ontario (London, ON)

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a serious lung disorder resulting from the narrowing of the pulmonary arteries, which carry blood from the heart to the lungs. Although, it is known that being either underweight or overweight can hinder one’s ability to breathe, there exists limited literature investigating the nutritional concerns of PH patients. The goal of the study is to determine the nutrition profile of PH patients through a comprehensive dietetic assessment conducted across disease subtypes and severity, as well as over time. Since minimal information is available in scientific literature focusing on the nutritional status of PH patients, this research will first seek to identify potential nutritional concerns in this patient population. The dietetic assessment will also involve measuring patients’ body compositions (such as muscle mass, body fat, and body water) and functional status (such as muscle strength, weight history, and nutrient intake).

This project has the potential to improve the lives and outcomes of PH patients through inter-professional collaboration in the management of the disease. Given that there is limited information on PH patients’ specific nutritional needs, it is anticipated that knowledge gained from this research will be used to guide health professionals involved in the care of PH patients to proactively manage patients’ nutritional concerns.  

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